Everyone loves some female-fronted indie rock. Scottish duo Honeyblood is a solid contender in the running for the crown of the genre, but their new album Babes Never Die feels like it could use something more.
Babes Never Die is the duo's sophomore record, riding off the success of their critically acclaimed debut, their self-titled Honeyblood. This record continues on with the sort of lo-fi atmosphere that the girls have come to inhabit. There's still some grit in the songs - see the confident riff that introduces 'Ready For The Magic.' The album has a lot of drive to it early on that stays pretty consistent throughout the record, beginning with the eponymous 'Babes Never Die,' giving the album its emotional thrill.
The best tracks on the album, however, find themselves being more mellow and melodic. 'Walking At Midnight' is found at the core of the record, the refreshing intro sounding pretty and dark. The melodies flow smoothly above an underlying instrumental that doesn't try to steal attention from the beautiful vocals. The track's instrumentation does, still, provide more aesthetic to the track, the groovy, almost Spanish feel carries the track through a free midnight stroll, peace and playfulness becoming one.
'Justine, Misery Queen' is another standout track, abandoning the darkness of the former track and honing in on the funner side of band's sound. It's pretty upbeat, which is ironic, since the song is about feeling defeated by life. 'Sea Hearts' is another track with some fun vibes to it, the driven beat carrying heavily distorted guitars to provide a light atmosphere.
The rest of the tracks on the record find themselves being okay. There's no distinctly bad track, but there's just plenty of subpar ones that are there to fill space. 'Gangs,' the album's closer, has a good drive and melodic sense, but it ends the record in an expected way. It's a good track, but not quite enough; it's too standard. The same is true for 'Sister Wolf' - it starts following a formula of chunky riff into indie vocalizations, which end up being boring in the end.
Babes Never Die isn't a bad album, but it definitely could've gone with more. Honeyblood has a very good grasp on their sound, but they need to find a way to progress it in an interesting and mature way, or else their doomed to produce some average indie rock for the rest of their career. They have the potential; let's see if they can channel it.
Favorite Tracks: Walking At Midnight; Justine, Misery Queen
Least Favorite Tracks: Intro, Outro
Rating: 70 / 100